Lenovo made a lot of really exciting announcements at CES 2017. It refreshed its trio of ThinkPad X1 laptops - including the Carbon, Yoga, and Tablet - it introduced the Miix 720, and the company even made an Amazon Echo-style device that's powered by Alexa.
The thing that interested me most was the Smart Assistant. It would seem that Alexa-powered devices were almost a theme at CES, but it answers the question of how you can make a better Echo. After all, the main feature of Amazon's standalone voice assistant is entirely cloud-based, so the only improvement can be the quality of the speaker.
Unfortunately, the models at the show weren't powered on, so I really only got to look at them. Coming in different colors, I'd say that they're more stylish than an Echo, and they're more inexpensive too, coming in at $129.
And then there's the part where a better speaker comes in, which is a black variant that features Harman Kardon speakers. This model is $179.99, which is the same price as an Amazon Echo.
And then there are the new laptops and 2-in-1s. The Miix 720 looks extremely similar to Microsoft's Surface Pro devices, and that becomes very apparent when you see it in person. In fact, even the keyboard seems to have the same connectors as a Type Cover; however, I was assured that the two keyboards are not interchangeable.
But the device does look and feel really nice. The keyboard is very comfortable to type on, and the metal rim around the trackpad gives it a premium look.
If you're looking for a high-end laptop though, that's where the ThinkPad X1 series comes in.
The X1 Carbon is the flagship of the group, and it's now in its fifth generation. It's offered in its standard black, but it also comes in a new silver color, which looks really sleek. The 1440p display looks stunning, and it's super light, coming in at just 2.49 pounds.
The Yoga is a bit heavier at 3.13 pounds, and while it feels like a fine device, weight is important when it comes to 2-in-1 devices. The Carbon is a standard laptop, but with the Yoga, the user can fold the display back and put it in tablet mode. Personally, I simply couldn't see myself using this particular device in that way, so my feeling would be to opt for the Carbon.
The Tablet is much lighter though. It's a detachable device, so by itself it weighs 1.69 pounds, and 2.35 with the keyboard attached. It's also smaller, with a 12-inch 1440p display, and it also doesn't include Thunderbolt 3 as the other two do, so you probably won't be using this with a high-resolution display.
One thing that I'd note about the X1 Tablet is that unlike the Miix 720, it doesn't feel like a "Surface clone", or at least not as much.
All three of the new ThinkPad X1 devices are stunning devices. There are two things that impressed me about all three. One is that they ship with Windows 10 Pro (Tablet has a Home option). It's always bothered me that many companies sell high-end laptops with Windows 10 Home. Also, they include a Qualcomm Snapdragon X7 modem, so you have the option of cellular connectivity.
Lenovo's booth at CES was one that left me very impressed. The firm is really making some quality products, and I'm excited to spend more time with them in the future.
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